Sunday, April 10, 2016

Seam finishes for silk charmeuse: a cautionary tale

You may recall this dress:
I finished the seams with pinking shears, thinking that would be enough.  Nope.  On seams cut on the straight grain, they frayed right through and the seams started coming apart.
Oops.  Don't do that.  You need something more.  French seams are your friends.

I'm now wondering how to fix this problem.  I'm thinking I need to run another line of stitching and nuke the remaining seam allowances with Fray-Check.  Any ideas?


  1. I'd recut the seams wherever possible to get a clean edge, then either surge or bias-tape finish the edges (or both.) You can also reinforce any damaged or weakened areas with silk organza.

  2. Hm, maybe:
    - fusible tape on the left side so you can match the both parts of fabric together.
    - cover the tape with a very fine lace so the seams don;t get too tough
    - sew the lace and the fabric together on lace's edges
    In this way both fabrics would be matched together and with the lace with two new seams. So the original seams would'n work, it would howeber be protected by the fusible tape.
    That's the best idea I'm having.
    Good luck, it's a pretty dress and suits you well!

  3. Yes, I agree with the other two posters. There is a type of organza-like soft seam tape that comes on a roll with several yards on one roll. You could sew the seam tape to the seams just inside the seam stitching and surge the other side of the seam tape to the edge of the seams by serging or zigzagging stitch.

  4. I fought it for the longest time. I really did, but eventually I got a serger I can't believe I waited so long! Sew the seam and then serge away. I think the fray check idea is awesome idea to salvage what's left but then again I mess up all the time so I'm not sure if you want to listen to me. Good luck though!

  5. I don't know about the fray check. I think unless you just use little dots, it might be too stiff. And unless you get the right kind, it will end up hard and scratchy dots. Somewhere, IIRC, there have been tips that say to iron the fray check before it hardens and it will stay soft, but I think this would be a great time to test it thoroughly.

    I vote for a light iron-on fusible in this case. And perhaps for the rest of the seam allowances that haven't frayed too far yet, perhaps a simple hand overcast finish.

  6. Hi, I am sewing a tunic with charmeuse, but using enclosed and topstitched French seams to avoid this problem. (I had washed first, so had realized it wold be an issue.) To fix this, I would zigzag or use the serger stitch on my machine to sew the seams together in a single layer, and trim them to 1/4 inch wide. I would then cover them with a bias binding custom made from something like a washed silk dupioni, that was soft and didn't fray easily. This would stabilize the seams, and prevent further fraying.